unschooling subforum - Page 11 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-26-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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...and the RU forum could be a mince -free zone...
A "mince-free" zone - I like that! - Lillian
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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If RU is not something specific, if it can hold many style of hsing, it doesn't need it's own forum. But if it is something particular, then RUs should be heard when they say they don't feel comfortable posting in forums that are curric -drive, or where parental need trumps child need.
Well, one thing that comes to mind is that an RU friend of mine who is very active in RU discussion nevertheless feels it's very important to incorporate math into your life with your children - it's just what she's done with her family, because she loves math so much. And yet, I, who have never considered myself RU, have actually debated with her on this. My son is mathematically quite at ease, but he's simply not interested, regardless of natural ability - he would have found it annoying if I'd been bringing it up all the time. And Sandra involved her family with her Society for Creative Anachronism without waiting for them to initiate it - it was just what they did (and they did really enjoy it - I'm not saying they were coerced in any way) - but others do feel things should actually be initiated by the child. And others may have a great interest in politics or music or whatever, so they just automatically include their children in what they do. So that's part of what comes to mind when I say there's not really an agreed upon RU "dogma" . - Lillian
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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Hey, maybe we should also have a UUMom & LillanJ area so that we could carry on like this without being in the middle of things...
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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1) "general discussion," (the, "what is unschooling?" "How do they learn algebra?" and "What about college?" types of questions)

2) "support only," (that nice, safe place free of debate) and

3) "RU" (for those who extend US principles throughout all areas.)
Love this idea. Especially the "support only" part. You know where *I'll* be hanging out!

I actually don't care for Sandra Dodd. Maybe it's because I'm not a RU but more because, as Lillian said, she doesn't "mince words". Actually, I think she comes across as pretty harsh and her comments have driven people away from unschooling. I think if someone really cares about others and wants to help them, then being nice is the way to go. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and all that. Which is why, even if she isn't as "unschooly" as Sandra Dodd, I have to say I'm a bigger fan of Lillian's any day

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I used to hear from homeschooler every now and then who had completely given it up because of not knowing about looser alternatives - the ol' "Homeschooling just didn't work for us" routine - "My child just wasn't cut out for homeschooling." And it would turn out that only a rigid traditional approach had been used, and the child hadn't cooperated. That's why I persist. Not because I give a rat's patoutie about dogma, but because I care about real people out there knowing about the alternatives they have for their precious children -
I love this and I know what you mean . . . but I also understand the other side. I'm totally for breastfeeding (which I'm assuming most people here are) but we all know formula feeding (by choice) moms who got nothing but upset over being told one too many times that they should nurse. And yet, if that same formula feeding mom just hangs out with a nursing mom who isn't judgmental and pushy, she might start to think about it and you never know, she might try nursing her next baby. It does make me sad to see a mom of a three year old going overboard on curriculum and fretting about the child being "behind" but I also know that if they don't come out and ask for advice, it's best to keep my mouth shut. Just like I'm not going to initiate a breastfeeding conversation with a forumla feeding friend.

Lillian, I think you do a great job of giving information without being pushy. Not all unschoolers do though. We're human. Like other humans, some of us can be obnoxious, no? :

And a quick tangent - I see the "do you offer" thing a lot. Why the holy heck would an unschooling parent not offer? As unschoolers, don't we often say that we don't compartmentalize the world into subjects and "educational" vs. "everything else?" (or at least we try not to - after all those years of school I doubt I'll ever get it completely out of my head!). If that's really true, why would I offer my kids a trip to the local amusement park but not offer them a trip to a museum? Why offer to buy a comic book but not offer to buy a math workbook? It's all life, it's all there to use or not use. I offer things/ideas/experiences depending on whether I think my kids will enjoy them, nothing else.

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Old 08-26-2007, 05:57 PM
 
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I'd be interested in hearing from people who are actually RU-ing. Are there any RU mamas who would feel uncomfortable posting in an unschooling forum? Maybe I'm naive or don't get out enough but inquiring mind want to know.

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Well, one thing that comes to mind is that an RU friend of mine who is very active in RU discussion nevertheless feels it's very important to incorporate math into your life with your children - it's just what she's done with her family, because she loves math so much. And yet, I, who have never considered myself RU, have actually debated with her on this.
This is such an interesting point! Who IS the final authority on any definition? When we use and choose words to define ourselves, we naturally look to terms that are the most commonly used among those who are part of the group. I often, however, find myself reading blogs, websites, or forums where there is one person who figures themselves the expert, and it makes me wonder how it is they came to feel that way. I've been mothering & raising kids for twenty years but I've never thought of myself as any kind of expert. I'm only an expert on my own life and sometimes not even that.

Is a definition purely cultural, or is it individual?

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Old 08-26-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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But are you open to someone responding to a post asking about how to teach a 5 yr. old to read with comments that it isn't really necessary?
Well, since I never formally taught my children to read, yes. I also would not assume a hsing parent is clueless as to his child's needs or capabilities. If they ask, we can tallk about it. Sometimes a parent asking to 'teach to read' is simply looking for games or little tidbits of advice on how reading happens.

I also feel uncomfortable when a discussion is quickly shut down because some people believe certain age children are 'too young' for something. RUs would argue that some teens are not too young for sex or R movies, or whatever, so why might it be automatically assumed that all 5 yr olds or 6 yr olds etc are too young for other things? Why are activities that 'teach' or introduce reading not appropriate if a parent asks? Are such activities
'necessary'? I don't know. Is learning what sugar can do to teeth necessary or can a cavity after Halloween teach that? What is necessary, really?

Some children will learn to read on their own at a very young age, and some children will learn to how to read on their own at a very 'late' age. Most kids are somewhere in the middle, and some kids enjoy respectful 'age apporpriate direct 'instruction'.

In keeping with my belief about children having greater capabilities than we give them credit for, I don't think 5 is arbitrarily too young for certain activities, and depending on the child, a parent helping a child to learn to begin with interesting ''reading' or language activities at any age is not automatically inappropriate.

Reading is sort of like tying shoes, when you're ready, it happens, but practice and exposure helps it click. I would think a RU would wait until the child asked to learn to read, or asked for tie shoes. RUs, imo, need that space.
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Old 08-26-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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Hey, maybe we should also have a UUMom & LillanJ area so that we could carry on like this without being in the middle of things...
That would be fun!

And then I would not have guilt for lobbying for RUs, who can very well speak for themselves!
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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I also feel uncomfortable when a discussion is quickly shut down because some people believe certain age children are 'too young' for something.
Sure, some kids are interested in things at younger ages than the majority of their peers. I wouldn't make a blanket statment that "No kids are ready for X until they are Y age". But what I often see is a parent trying to get a young kid to do something (it's almost always reading or math for some reason, but sometimes it's history, tying shoes, whatever) and the kid is resisting and that's why the parent is asking for help in the first place. And yeah, my knee jerk reaction to that is that the parent is pushing something on a kid who obviously isn't ready for that skill. Maybe I'm wrong and the parent is right in that they just need to find the right curriculum. This is almost always very young kids though. 3, 4, maybe 6 or 7.

But the thing is, if a parent is having trouble getting their kid to do the work and they think it's important to get them to do it, whatever their age, I can't see them going to an unschooling forum for advice. Unless they are specifically looking for advice on how to let go and relax a bit.

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Sometimes a parent asking to 'teach to read' is simply looking for games or little tidbits of advice on how reading happens.
Again, for me, it's intent. My dd has on many occasions asked to be taught something. I don't think that makes us not unschoolers. Right now we're setting up ice skating lessons for her. When she was younger she even asked me to teach her to read (didn't work - she thought I was going to hand her a magic key and was ticked off when she couldn't read within minutes ) and we even had a week of "school-at-home" at her request (thank gawd that didn't last - I don't know how the school-at-home moms do it without going nuts! I think I'm in awe of them )

Ok, I'm getting long winded (again) but for me it's this. If someone says "my dd asked me to help her learn to read and I need some fun suggestions" that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I'd be fine with that on an unschooling board (though it could just as easily go on the regular board). It's the child's choice and if the kid says "nah, I decided I don't want to" I'd expect an unschooling parent to respect that. Same as if the kid asks for help in crocheting, cooking, multiplication, bike riding or rollerblading (all examples of things my kids have asked me for help with recently).

On the other hand, if someone says "I've decided it's time for my dd to learn to read and I need some fun suggestions" - well, technically they are asking for the same input but do you see the difference? And if this child says "nah, I don't want to" what happens?
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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On the other hand, if someone says "I've decided it's time for my dd to learn to read and I need some fun suggestions" - well, technically they are asking for the same input but do you see the difference? And if this child says "nah, I don't want to" what happens?

Well, obviously we are all going to support that person into beating it into her kid.




I'm kidding. Sometimes we never get to the 'he doesn't want to' part, or the part where the parent can discuss how to tweak activites so they better suit a child who wants to continue learning, as the discussion is often shut right down. I don't like how others often assume parents know nothing about their kid and need to be set straight that 5 yr olds can't read. The standard answer is basically, " You don't need to think about teaching your child to read. Just read to them, they'll get it eventually". Ftr, reading to a child *is* a form of teaching them to read.

Anyway, I don't want to get bogged down in one thing. The fact is RU and US do do things differently. That is ok. Let the forums begin, I vote.
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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I don't like how others often assume parents know nothing about their kid and need to be set straight that 5 yr olds can't read. The standard answer is basically, " You don't need to think about teaching your child to read. Just read to them, they'll get it eventually". Ftr, reading to a child *is* a form of teaching them to read.
:::ahem::: If someone posts that her child is going to start homeschooling kindergarten in September, so she's asking the best way of teaching him to read, she's asking for input - and maybe she has no idea that not everyone introduces reading lessons at that age. So if someone says "You don't need to think about teaching your child to read. Just read to them, they'll get it eventually," that may just be her own respectful way of responding to the question as she perceives it. It doesn't mean she's dissing the question, but just that she thinks she's giving her own response.

When I think of reading to children, fwiw, I'm not thinking in terms of it teaching them to read - although it actually is a common way that a lot do learn. Mine wouldn't have, however. And a friend of mine read to hers more voraciously than anyone I've ever known, but they struggled with learning how when the time came. I don't think it's accurate to make a blanket statement that that reading to children will get them reading with no further effort - but I can see where some people really do feel that way because it worked for them and others they've known. I know someone whose child literally taught herself to read at age 2, so she really thinks reading to them should do it for most children, but a lot of us know that to not necessarily be the case.

Which, of course, has little to do with all this - but I do think that giving one another the benefit of a doubt could help out all around.

But let the wild unschooling subforum ruckus begin! Lillian

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Old 08-26-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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The fact is RU and US do do things differently. That is ok. Let the forums begin, I vote.
I'd love that. I'd love to pick the brains of unschoolers & RU parents on such a wide variety of subjects...too many to really handle well in the general homeschooling forum. It's such a big forum that all sorts of threads are getting buried.

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Old 08-27-2007, 12:12 AM
 
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Agree totally. US is a big enough movement, I think, that it should have categories of its own.

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Old 08-27-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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US is a big enough movement, I think, that it should have categories of its own.
Well put - it is big, isn't it! Hadn't thought of it that way. Lillian
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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What if there's an unschooling forum with 3 separate sections?
<snip>

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2) "support only," (that nice, safe place free of debate) and
As much as I would like to believe that, my experience at MDC is that there always seems something to debate (just sayin', love you all, but really, there are LOTS of opinions!!!) (and case in point!!! This huge thread!)

I am still not totally "getting" why there should be a split...it seems very complicated and engineered. Would someone be willing to summarize the pros and cons for me (I just can not bring myself to wade through the past 16 pages
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:48 AM
 
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<snip>



As much as I would like to believe that, my experience at MDC is that there always seems something to debate (just sayin', love you all, but really, there are LOTS of opinions!!!) (and case in point!!! This huge thread!)

I am still not totally "getting" why there should be a split...it seems very complicated and engineered. Would someone be willing to summarize the pros and cons for me (I just can not bring myself to wade through the past 16 pages

I'm not thinking of it as a split. I was in the beginning - but now I'm seeing how it can be just a complement to the main area like the subforums in the school forum are. Or at least I hope so! I think it's worth taking care in the engineering of it to make sure it's that and not something that could split the forum. And there really are people who are not willing to post now but would post often in a space where they felt more comfortable - so I'd think that would increase forum activity... - Lillian

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Old 08-27-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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And there really are people who are not willing to post now but would post often in a space where they felt more comfortable - so I'd think that would increase forum activity... - Lillian

Thanks, Lillian--- Is that really true? People don't post now based on the current forum configuration? That makes me sad; I want to understand how separate groups can add to comfort.
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:22 AM
 
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Thanks, Lillian--- Is that really true? People don't post now based on the current forum configuration?
'Fraid so. I've heard from at least two who gave up awhile back on being able to discuss unschooling ideas without being attacked. They just didn't feel it was worth the emotional aggravation. And names I'm not even familiar with have showed up in this thread and the other one, A new direction for this forum..., saying they haven't posted for the same reason. But there's also just the thing of some of them not being interested in the plethora of curriculum sorts of posts - they'd like to be able to just go directly to talk that interests them.

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That makes me sad; I want to understand how separate groups can add to comfort.
Yeah, I know - makes me sad too, but I can really see how adding an extra few sections could actually pick up people's enthusiasm for the whole thing. I thought it would separate people, but I've come to feel it would just enhance things - provided it was made clear that unschoolers would still be welcome to speak their minds in the main forum and that there would be several areas in the unschooling forum where different perspectives could fit. And I think plenty of them would still post in the main forum. I think it really deserves some thoughtful time talking details over here. - Lillian
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:45 AM
 
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A "mince-free" zone - I like that! - Lillian
but I like mince. with fried onions and cracked pepper

well, I read through the three pages since I last posted, and I could multi-quote and comment on every post. I had something that I totally agreed with in almost everything everyone said, and I even started multi-quoting you all. but I didnt do it. because I love you all so much :

okay, [stands up and clears throat] My name is Majikfaerie and I'm a radical unschooler.

I came to RU in spite of Sandra Dodd et al, if I hadn't been so gung-ho, they totally would have put me off and sent me running as far as the nearest public school

basically, I dont hang around the HSing forum much. I subscribe to the US support thread, and poke my head in the HSing door every now and then. I'm fine with that. but if there were a distinct area for unschooling and or RU, I wouldn't be so scarce.

There is only one other RU family in our area that I know of, and they are a 40 minute drive away. so I would LOVE there to be a place here I could come and get support, chat, post questions, etc, with other RU mamas. or at least US. I'm not too fussy about the particulars or the titles.
just call it "leaning at home and beyond, subforum door number one and door number two"

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Old 08-27-2007, 11:31 AM
 
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Wow, I don't unschool but I would really hate to see a new forum for it. Then what? Why not have a CM forum, a Classical Forum, a Waldorf forum....like Learning at School does....so we can all segregate? I don't feel like the Learning at Home forum is really all that busy to need it. I know US is a "lifestyle" and changes the way you live in a sense, but so does homeschooling....I don't know. Why can't we just be one big happy family? I like the input of everyone.

IMO, it seems like more of a lack of moderation/manners than a need for a new forum.

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Old 08-27-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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Then what? Why not have a CM forum, a Classical Forum, a Waldorf forum....like Learning at School does....so we can all segregate?
I realize that was a rhetorical question, but I think there's a good answer to it. First of all, it would be a sub-forum, rather than a forum. So you'd go to the homeschool section, but would be assured of a place in it where you could depend on finding a lot of the kind of thing you most wanted. And lots of people who went to the unschooling subforum would also be participating in the general forum. I don't think there's so much clamboring for other subforums just because there aren't nearly as many people involved in those things to the extent that there are in unschooling.

But :::ahem::: we could sure use more input from more of the people who've been wanting it so much. There are questions here from a real MDC rep to be dealt with. Let's get on it! There's work to be done. :::cracking the whip:::

- Lillian
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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I will be posting in both either way As well as CM, classic, ecletic : We change daily as to what our main path is.

My Abigail's FAVORITE thing is to wprk on her Kindergarden curriculum book she got at Barnes and Noble. : She LOVES it!

Dom....has the same book (gr 1) and goes in spurts with it.

Don't know why I am sharing this! : :

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Old 08-27-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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Taking the nudge from Lillian

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1. What's Unschooling? Who Decides? If someone says they are US but then other people don't think they are actually US do they jump on them? Or are they allowed to define it themselves?
I'm answering a question with a question, but how is this dealt with on other boards? Like the veg*an board? Since there are vegans, there are vegetarians and there are people who eat fish and call themselves vegetarian who all might want to post there. I'm assuming this has already been worked out for other subforums?

But anyway, I guess we've made it clear we'll never agree on a definition of unschooling. I think it's obvious what it is, but obviously others disagree with me . And I would like to think that we can be polite and just be nice to everyone but, having been on the internet long enough, nah, ain't gonna happen. I'm of the opinion we should just call it the "Unschooling subforum" and let people decide for themselves if they fit in there.

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So if someone does US but then they do use a curriculum for a certain subject are they going to be tarred and feathered?
I can only speak for myself obviously. I wouldn't tar and feather anyone but if a poster is obviously not an US and is talking about all the "have to" and "she needs to" stuff I'd probably just ignore them after awhile, rather than scratch my head all the time when reading their posts. Unless they asked for advice on how to be more unschooly in which case I'd probably give them suggestions.

The problem is, the people who like to be rude and argumentative will be so no matter where they are and no matter what board they post on. I really don't think that a lot of rules are ever going to completely stop trolls or rude people. It's just a fact of life we have to deal with.

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Can a US-er still post to the main forum without the others telling them to go to their US cave to talk about something?
I would assume so. Again, using food as an example, vegetarians are "allowed" to post in the general nutrition board aren't they? They tend to post in the veg*an board if they only want the input of other veg*ans on a particular issue and don't want to deal with criticism of the veg*an diet or are tired of people giving them recipes for steak tartar or liver balls when they ask for suggestions for dinner. Which really is exactly why I want an US subforum.

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We have a lot of people who do some of this and some of that and we don't want it to be divisive where people are told they aren't "US enough"
I run an Unschooling email list for my state. In our description we are pretty open that we allow anyone to join, we do not police who is "US enough" (because honestly, that really doesn't feel unschooly to me!). But we also state that someone should not get defensive if we suggest they try unschooling Yes, this does lead to some people joining who are obviously not unschoolers but we are polite and eventually most of them unsub because they just don't get anything from our chat. I'd imagine that's how this would turn out.

Other than trolls or haters, I can't see anyone hanging around the unschooling board unless they are at least sort of "unschoolish".

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If we were to have a US forum we need it to be Support Only and self defined. We have had this problem with other forums and we don't want another forum with a problem with this.
Just out of curiosity, which forums? I'm wondering if my long standing veg*an board forum example was a problem

And for the record, I do think maybe it would be nice to have a subforum for more parent-led homeschoolers but since I am not one of them, I can't really say much on that. I think maybe the people who would use that are the ones who should give input on that.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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No I realize that...but then why not have lots of subforums like Learning at School does for specific questions on different types of schooling?

Seriously though, I really like getting everyone's thoughts on homeschooling. And, if you want an honest opinion....it seems to me unschoolers attack curriculum users quite often too! I don't mean that to be mean. I just see very often people wanting to know how to teach something, etc and then being told not to do anything, that actively teaching them that thing is wrong LOL. NOT trying to start an argument....like I said, I prefer it the way it is, especially since I'm pretty eclectic in my style so far.

That said, I DO see some value in an array of subforums. It's very often that people come in looking for Waldorf help, CM, etc. I really did mean it as a rhetorical question at first....but now that I think about it, it just might be helpful.

Amy, USCG wife and homeschooling, ebfing, homebirthing Mama to M (8), L (6), L (2.5)
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:14 PM
 
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But anyway, I guess we've made it clear we'll never agree on a definition of unschooling.
Hey! Got an idea - how about that being part of the definition?!

- Lillian
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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And, if you want an honest opinion....it seems to me unschoolers attack curriculum users quite often too! I don't mean that to be mean. I just see very often people wanting to know how to teach something, etc and then being told not to do anything, that actively teaching them that thing is wrong LOL.
Amy, I'm really, really, really not trying to be argumentative - but I have to wonder if people's intent is not frequently being taken wrong around here. I'm really glad to see such honest input, but what I've personally experienced is a lot of over-reaction to innocent comments that are just different from what some may expect from reading the original question in a post. I have never seen anyone "attack" anyone over the use of a curriculum. Expressing the opinion that it isn't necessary is a whole other thing - if someone asks what curriculum they should buy, it doesn't seem out of line at all to me for someone to politely tell them that they actually don't "need" one. They might actually be relieved to hear that - because they often have never heard yet. It's not making them wrong - it's just being helpful.

Like just today, I went to the post office, got a box out of the rack, got a roll of tape, put in my stuff to ship, taped it all up, and went to the desk to mail it and pay for the box and tape. The man at the desk rang me up, and then politely told me that the next time I can just use one of the free boxes that are displayed on the wall, and that I can use some of their tape - I didn't need to buy a box and tape! He wasn't making me wrong - as stupid as I felt - he was just trying to help.

Also, I have no issue with anyone helping a younger child to learn how to read when that child is particularly wanting to - but I feel that a lot of people really and truly do not realize that it isn't "necessary" to initiate and even sometimes push it at an early age, so I offer the information that there's a very different way to look at all that. But that's not making people wrong - that's just providing input that they may have never come across.

I've seen lots of times when someone asks how to teach something and some people offer the suggestion that it really isn't necessary to "teach" it as such - that it's one of those things that will come along quite naturally. Or sometimes people offer the suggestion that it can easily be learned by a series of ongoing natural everyday activities - but it's usually the case that they consider that to be a perfectly honest and respectful response to the question. Because it's not uncommon for someone to ask a question with certain wording that isn't all meant to preclude input that's offered with a different point of view than the wording might indicate.

I've seen an occasional post where someone is blunt in a way that could have been worded a lot more diplomatically - but I just really haven't seen all the rudeness that several people here have indicated they've seen. I have definitely seen it in other places - but just not here .

Well, now back to our program. Lillian
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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Sorry Lillian, I think I was just moody when I posted LOL. I didn't mean to be argumentative or anything. I guess I feel offended that the unschoolers don't feel comfortable around everyone else, since I am part of "everyone else".

The more I thought about it, I do understand wanting another forum. But if we do that, I do think it would be useful to even more people to consider a few other subforums as well.

Amy, USCG wife and homeschooling, ebfing, homebirthing Mama to M (8), L (6), L (2.5)
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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I didn't mean to be argumentative or anything. I guess I feel offended that the unschoolers don't feel comfortable around everyone else, since I am part of "everyone else".
You weren't being argumentative - you were just being honest, which is important. But the perception you expressed is one that concerns me, because I've heard it before and I really feel there are some unfortunate misunderstandings going on.

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Old 08-28-2007, 04:07 PM
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Radical unschoolers would be how most people would label our family, just to define where I am coming from in my reply --

It doesn't matter to me either way whether there is a subforum or not. I am a huge advocate of the power of choice and of deliberate creation - I believe we create our own experience.

With that in mind I will say this: I think that if everyone here put as much energy into the forum that already exsists as they are putting into arguing about whether a subforum is needed, there wouldn't be a need for a subforum imo.

If people would make an effort to be sensitive, to think before they press *submit reply*, and to stay out of threads (or be respectful and helpful... or at the very least, disagree respectfully) where their input is clearly not sought (on both sides!) it would be a peaceful forum save a few *bleeps* that may wander in.

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Old 08-28-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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If people would make an effort to be sensitive, to think before they press *submit reply*, and to stay out of threads (or be respectful and helpful... or at the very least, disagree respectfully) where their input is clearly not sought (on both sides!) it would be a peaceful forum save a few *bleeps* that may wander in.

I personally think that this is one of the main problems. Some may feel that input is "clearly not sought" in cases where others feel perfectly respectful and and helpful - and friendly and supportive and innocent - in giving their input. I just can't understand why there's so much hyper-sensitivity and assumption of ill will or arrogance or insensitivity about all this on either side, the structured or unstructured. There's no way of reading minds over the computer screen...

And it's often not even the original poster who gets offended if a response isn't exactly what she expected - it's often just someone reading it assuming that the OP didn't mean to hear that particular viewpoint. I think that oftentimes people are reading in tones of voice or attitudes that simply weren't meant...

But I don't think any of this negates the fact that there are a whole lot of unschoolers who would love to see a small subforum where they could feel free to speak their minds together without being judged to be "insensitive."

- Lillian
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:19 PM
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Just to clarify, what I meant by "clearly not sought" is that I have seen on both sides of the issue posts which say in the title or the OP "Support only" or similar, and then go in to read the thread and there are posts "How does your child learn ANYTHING!! I could NEVER unschool!!!" or on the other side, "I WOULD NEVER have a curriculum! How NOT natural, isn't this a NFL BOARD!???" (or similar) -- when clearly in the OP it says "I don't want to debate I just want suggestions on curriculum" or "support of unschooling only please" (depending on which *side* is posting).

In those cases yeah, I think everyone can butt out (on both sides). In the cases where it is fuzzy, I am all for putting in an opinion even if one disagrees but there is a way to phrase things that has less of a chance of illiciting negative feelings.

Sort of the difference between me saying in a post:

"Our family doesn't use curriculum of any sort and never plan to. We find our daughter seeks out learning experiences on her own beautifully, and is actually advanced for her age according to development charts. We plan to continue radical unschooling as long as it works for everyone in our family."

rather than,

"We don't FORCE our daughter to learn ANYTHING. She does it on her own and is way smart so I don't get why people need to use curriculum just so they can feel like their children are learning something!!! I don't think it is fair to make children learn!"

Now if the first paragraph was met with anger or hurt feelings then I would feel totally fine because I know that is a respectful sharing of ideas. The second, well, it is harsh imo and I could see where people would respond to it!

On the other side, arguments could be avoided mostly (imo) by the same suggestion.

If someone took a second to say "I am so used to how things have always been done in our family that I would be scared that Johnny may not learn what I believe he needs to learn to get into a good college. Thoughts?"

rather than,

"How in the WORLD do your children think they are going to college if they have neve learned anything or how to be in a classroom????? Who is going to accept a student who doesn't even have records of grades and tests???"

I mean, I have seen examples of *all* those sentiments and I have observed the difference in how they are received. Other than the occasional overly sensitive poster who completely takes things out of context or gets all worked up, most people can spot a respectful post from a snarky one a mile a way.

I am not *against* a subforum by any means -- we are unschoolers!!! We are even radical unschoolers by most people's standards! I am just saying that I think lots can be accomplished by just a little effort on the part of everyone involved in the forum in the way of mutual respect.
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